Verner's Views - Shrine Game Edition

Jan. 21, 2010

Good day everyone -

I have the extreme privilege to give you news on an exciting week of football for myself and the rest of the UCLA contingent here at the East-West Shrine Game.

I arrived here in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday. Saturday through Monday, we had to do various things for the NFL from tests to measurements to a lot of things I didn't know the NFL actually looked at. That was off the field stuff.

Along those lines, we had the privilege on Sunday to go to the Shriners' Hospital and see these wonderful children with smiles as bright as the sun even through their pains and struggles. It was a very humbling experience. I had the honor to be the designated the tire swing swinger at the playground. This means I pushed the kids in a circle of a tire swing. I had lines waiting for the swing, so I guess the kids really liked it. That's been most of the non-football stuff.

On the football side, it's been an interesting but intense week. Monday through Wednesday were intense practices, with the latter of the two practices each day being in full pads. Scouts flooded the sidelines from goal to goal and all eyes were on us. I have been doing exceptionally well, making plays when presented the opportunity. I have made a couple of interceptions and break-ups through the drills. Reggie Carter has been solid in the middle; Ryan Moya has adjusted to his new spot at h-back very well and Terrence Austin made several touchdown catches on Wednesday. Overall, UCLA has been well represented this week.

We haven't had much time to enjoy this beautiful city because of meetings and practices and other. But, I have enjoyed my experience here thus far! I have made some new friends who share similar ambitions and obstacles. And I think it was really meant for me to play in this game! Bruin Nation will get to see me return punts in this game as I am a starter at that position and I am excited to do it. Also, thus far Terrence and I are the kick returners.

Our numbers go as follows:
1- Verner
18 - Austin
51- Carter
14 - Moya

The game is this Saturday at 12:30 pm PST on ESPN 2.

Thank you again for all the support from the Bruin Nation. We will make you proud this weekend. It's a pleasure to represent this fine university one last time with the gold helmet!

Hope all is well and for the people in this storm, I hope you guys are taking precautions and being safe. Take care. This Bruin is a Bruin for life!

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